Category Archives: Marketing

8 Ways to Not Make More Money doing engineering (or anything else)

1. Don’t ask for more.

This works for me every time. Amazing! When I don’t ask, I don’t get! Problem solved.

2. On the odd occasion when I fall off the wagon, and ask for more, I wait for an answer.

And I wait. And wait. And wait.

Waiting frequently causes the terrible insult that I’ve just delivered to be forgotten.

Eventually, I can go back to breathing easily, secure in the knowledge that nothing will change.
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Attend live events and meetups!

One of the things aerospace industry professionals aren’t especially good at (particularly the geekier among us) is attending live events and meetups.

Of course, we all tend to empty out of the shop or office at noon every Thursday, and head to the favourite pub or restaurant for a meal with the office pals. And we’re always talking shop with pals over 10am coffee.

Those are cool, but they don’t count as live events.

A live event involves >25 people, most of whom are strangers, to whom you might have to introduce yourself and, Gasp. make small talk.

It is held somewhere you don’t normally hang out. Gasp #2.

It comes lubricated by caffeine, carbohydrates and complex sugars, protein, cholesterol, alcohol, and multiple combinations thereof. Hmmm, OK you have my attention.

It might be a trade show in a large convention centre with 10,000 people.  It might be a totally unscripted, schmooze-and-booze meetup in a bar.

A live event will elevate your heart rate and adrenaline levels (at least somewhat), particularly for the more socially backward of us. Initiate Cold-Trickle- Down-Back sequence.

Indeed, I would argue, That’s the point.

Live events get you out of your comfort zone. But more importantly, they get you out of the damn shop/office.

I started down this road three years ago, and while the benefits haven’t been revolutionary (yet), they have certainly been more than evolutionary.

Most people who attend live events are movers and shakers, or want to be one.

Which one you are, doesn’t really matter. If you are bored, fed up and itching for change, even if it’s just changing yourself . . . . . start attending live events and meetups.

If you can’t find a relevant one, start one.

Partly to take my own advice, this week I started a new meetup called South West Aerospace Hackers, for aerospace types in the greater Bristol, UK area. Click on the link if you are within a reasonable driving distance.

It’s a sad fact of life that most live events are geocentric, so I apologise if you are too many hours or time zones away. If this one becomes a global phenomenon, then you can be sure I will leverage the power of the internet to broadcast it globally. But until then, it’s restricted to the south west of the UK.

Or . . . . . . you can start your own.

The upside is huge. You’ll meet interesting people who can help you (and whom you can help) you would never meet otherwise.

Stuff Happens at meetups. Friendships are formed. Light bulbs in heads get switched on. Businesses and initiatives get started.

The downside is minimal. Nobody comes, and you’ve wasted a few hours.

Hint: The downside rarely happens.

For Flipboard junkies . . .

Flipboard is an iOS and Android app that you can use to browse articles from your favourite publishing sources.

Just three months ago, they enabled viewers to become curators, I.e. you could start curating and publicising your own virtual magazine (on the Flipboard platform). Give it a try.

I’m now curating two magazines that are quite relevant to aerospace types:

(1) Free Spirit – Everything of interest to those who want to live and work on their terms, free of The Man!
(2) Fly Ahead – Drones, UAVs, independent aerospace firms, and the free-minded professionals who want to take aerospace forward and won’t settle for the status quo!

Feel free to subscribe to either/both of them! Just download the free app, and search on the magazine names.

And/or start curating your own magazines!

What’s Your Antidote to the Fear of Loss?

Twice in the last three months, I’ve missed out on paying work, losing in the end because I was too expensive.

Too what?

The client had a pay scale, or a spreadsheet somewhere that dictated how much they were prepared to pay for my time.

On or below that line, and I was in. One penny above, and I was out. Simple. Case closed.

The bottom line was the expense they would incur by hiring me.

I had been reduced to a cost.

They (and I) had failed to consider: How much profit or benefit would they make by hiring me? (It’s a skill I haven’t yet mastered, obviously.)

You will often hear someone moaning about the shortage of engineers, the lack of technical skills, young people don’t want to go into engineering anymore, it’s holding back the company’s growth, it’s holding back national growth, etc, etc.

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Google should learn from aerospace

As a self-confessed critic of the aerospace industry, I never thought I’d hear myself say this:

I think Google should take a lesson from commercial aerospace.

Google has abruptly decided to shut down its Google Reader tool, without replacement or merging the functionality into any other tool.

Just imagine an announcement like this from Boeing:

“Boeing announces today that it is withdrawing all support for the 767 line of aircraft, as of two months from now.  Operators of these aircraft will need to make alternative arrangements in support of their customers.”

Operators of these aircraft would be seriously inconvenienced and out-of-pocket. Some would find their very survival threatened.

There wouldn’t just be screams. There would be lawsuits.

There would be permanently lost customers.

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Mobile devices will disrupt aerospace

Check this link out. It’s Bill Gross’ assessment of the impact of mobile devices on how we live, and associated business opportunities.

I hear you ask: What on earth does this have to do with aerospace?

Well, as regards military aerospace, or general aviation, it’s not immediately obvious. Possibly not much.

But as regards commercial aerospace, the implications are huge.

It’s already possible to arrange all the significant (and many of the insignificant) details of our lives directly from a mobile phone or tablet. By the end of this decade, all the more so.

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Engineer, are you a commodity?

(Hint: The default value is YES.)

Here’s a blog post well worth reading, entitled How to be a freelance engineer. Very insightful.

I would have prefaced it with two questions:

  1. Do you know the currency value of the skills you will bring to the marketplace as a freelance engineer?
  2. If the answer to Question 1 is yes, are you still sure you want to be a freelance engineer?

Author Seth Godin likes to ask people if there is anyone else in the world that can deliver the same goods or services as you, for the same money (or less).

If the answer to that question is YES, he will tell you that you are on a race to the bottom.

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Think like a business – Know your market

Last week, I attended a seminar entitled Sizing Your Market, given by two Bristol-area gentlemen (Greville Commins, Matt Hatch). Between them, they have launched, led, and exited several tech businesses over many years.

It’s an important topic to businesses, that’s obvious.

On the surface, though, it might seem to be an irrelevance to lone rangers who just want to beaver along and get the day’s work done..

It’s not.

Even if you are an employee, or a contractor working for a single customer at a time, you’ve got to think like a business if you want to protect yourself and get ahead. You’d better have at least a gut feel for how many other people you are likely to work for in your lifetime, what their needs/wants are, and how much they are prepared to pay for your services.

Here’s a quick summary of what I learned at the Sizing Your Market seminar:

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